Today I spent a good portion of the day messing around with an idea for a shirt in my mind. However, what I got was a dress! And not a super-attractive dress at that, buuuttt the fun for me is in the process. As I'm advancing my sewing skills I really like to use patterns because you learn a lot of techniques that way and the clothes often come out as something you would actually wear. However, there's another side of me that really enjoys just going sew-rogue and trying to figure out how to make something without a pattern. I'm still too much of a novice to make what is in my mind a reality, but I find it fun to try and it pushes me to figure things out and reinforces concepts in my mind. For instance, today I learned that you really need to sew darts early on because they affect how your fabric lays against your body. In the picture you can see that the top part of the shirt/dress is different fabric than the bottom part. I had sewn the bottom and top pieces together, tried it on and realized that the armholes were too large and the fabric was rippling/popping out away from my chest, so I needed to use a dart to take in some of the fabric and have it lay flatter. When I did that it made the sides of the shirt/dress (from under my armpit to where the blue fabric ends above my knee on the right and left sides of my body) lay oddly, so I ended up having to slightly move the side seams so they didn't pop-out so much.
Though I might make something that, in reality, I would never truly wear out of the house when I'm going sew-rogue, I find the process of creating, refining and reinforcing my learning to be a huge pay-off. I see improvement over time in that I'm much quicker at sewing now than the last time I went sew-rogue and created a top, and I have many more sewing techniques at my disposal such as utilizing edge-stitching to stabilize edges, a better understanding of how to sew darts, and knowledge of how to create my own bias tape.
Speaking of bias tape, I'm now adding bias tape around the neck and armpits, and it's looking slightly less hideous and school-girlish, so we'll see. I'll post about the finished shirt/dress when it's done!